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PNG Army to recruit 300 officers

The Papua New Guinea Defence Force is looking at recruiting about 300 officers this year, with first batch of 150 to occupy the Goldie Training Depot.

Defence Commander Major General Gilbert Toropo said the first 150 officers would take up six months’ training at Goldie followed by the next 150 recruits.

He said the department needed more than 300 officers but there were space limitations in accommodation.

“There is enough space for 150 in the training college and we cannot get more than that,” he said.

“Funds have been allocated by the government but the recruitment date has not been confirmed yet.”

Toropo said the department had 4000 officers in the army, navy and air force and the government was asking if it could be increased to 10,000.

He said the army can meet the 10,000 recommendation but accommodation was a problem.

The budget is not only looking at recruiting but other cost aspects such as uniforms, accommodation, salaries and cost, significant amount is needed.

Meanwhile, the re-establishment of the naval base on Lombrum Island in Manus will strengthen maritime security in PNG waters, said Major General Toropo.

He said an arrangement between the United States and Australian governments existed previously and the U.S announcement to set up base again came during November’s APEC meeting in Port Moresby.

He said the U.S used the base during World War II.

Toropo said the re-establishment of the base would tighten the maritime security system for Papua New Guinea to discourage illegal fishing, drug trafficking, sea robberies, illegal border crossing and while also building an avenue for international trade for the country and Manus.

“The discussions are underway now with them. Australia has already assisted us with boats that will be used in Manus,” Toropo said.

He said the Manus naval base was there because of the alliance PNG had with the U.S and Australia.

“Relationships have been on-going since Papua New Guinea gained independence in 1975,” he said.

He said Manus was in focus now for maritime security because too many illegal activities were going on at sea.

“There will also be indirect benefits by bringing in services that will boost the economy for PNG and Manus,” Toropo said.

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